View Full Version : MY latest build is finished

Vespa Bob
05-02-2016, 06:04 PM
My project, started in late January is, after many trials and tribulations, finally finished. This is my first attempt at a standard concert shape, my previous attempts being pineapple or teardrop shaped bodies. Also my first attempt at a bound fretboard, headstock inlay and sunburst finish. Since this uke was built as a request from my son, I wanted to put everything into it and this is the result:
Sitka spruce top
Peruvian walnut back and sides
Mahogany neck
Ebony headplate, fretboard and bridge
Gotah tuning machines
MOP and bloodwood inlay
Abalone and wood rosette
Worth clear strings
I was particularly pleased with the sunburst finish, thanks to the Colortone liquid stains, which produce a beautiful finish. They were added to a 50/50 mix of lacquer/ thinners and sprayed on in consecutive coats with an airbrush. Even the darker shades did not hide the grain of the wood, which I found pleasing.
The inlay, representing the lone star of Texas, where my son resides, and the motorcyclist silhouette (my son is an observed trials competitor) turned out better than expected, considering this was my first attempt at something so complex, for me, anyway.
Of course, there were many, many mistakes made along the way, but not serious enough for me to quit and start again! The icing on the cake is that it sounds pretty good, better than the Ohana upon which it was based.
I'll be leaving for Texas next week and can't wait to see his face when he sees his his birthday present!


Vespa Bob
05-02-2016, 06:11 PM
A few more pics:

05-02-2016, 06:20 PM
Great job, I like it.

05-02-2016, 07:40 PM
A lovely instrument Bob. Nice job on the sun-burst.

05-02-2016, 08:32 PM

That l@@ks AMAZING!

I think I'm in LOVE :love:

Congrats on such a great build! :)

05-02-2016, 08:37 PM
The instrument is very different from anything else you have posted and I can see that you have learned a great deal in making it. I'm sure your son will be delighted with it.

It looks great, you can be proud of your work.

What are you making next?

05-03-2016, 01:03 AM
That is one handsome looking instrument. Love it.

05-03-2016, 03:34 AM
Hey that is a sweet-looking instrument. I'm sure your son will love it - who wouldn't after all?! Nice work.

Vespa Bob
05-03-2016, 03:53 AM
What nice comments to start my day, thanks everybody! My next project will be something simple, probably another Favilla style soprano teardrop. Not so many "I hope this is going to work" moments to deal with!


05-03-2016, 03:59 AM
Your son is going to love it! That's one fantastic sunburst!

Steve in Kent
05-03-2016, 04:36 AM
That is absolutely stunning, well done on making such a great looking ukulele.

I'm available for adoption :)

Doug W
05-03-2016, 04:59 AM

Great instrument! Your kid will be proud to display that axe out in public.

05-03-2016, 01:05 PM
Very beautiful sunburst. I think it was wise to build it up in multiple coats.
Nice work on all of it.


05-03-2016, 01:13 PM
beautiful job on the finish vespabob!! the uke look stunning.

05-03-2016, 02:24 PM
Amazing inspiration for a novice like me. Nice work!


05-03-2016, 08:25 PM
That's beautiful Bob.

Vespa Bob
05-04-2016, 05:24 PM
That is absolutely stunning, well done on making such a great looking ukulele.

I'm available for adoption :)

Sorry, Kent, I've got two other sons ahead of you!
Thanks again, folks for your encouraging comments, although I feel a bit of a fraud, as there are so many cosmetic flaws that don't show up in the photos.:( My first mistake was deciding to cut the channel for the top purfling by hand instead of using my Stewmac's edging guide. I was terrified that the router would go off course on the tight curves of the waist, so I used a home made tool to cut a line, then followed with a 1/4" chisel very slowly, which turned out OK, except the channel ended up a little wide. I then closed the gap with a thin strip of the same spruce as used for the top, hoping it would not show, which, of course it did, so before spraying the sunburst, I masked out up to the edge of the sitka strip, thus hiding the glue line. The second mistake was to use herringbone for the purfling, as I soon discovered that it didn't like being bent at such tight angles required at the waist. Did I mention somewhere that this was my first standard shape uke build? It ended up a complete mess, which I covered up as best as I could, but left tell tale signs, none the less. There were gaps between the purfling and the binding which I drop filled as best I could, but some are still noticeable. The tuners I purchesed for this uke looked great when I first saw them, but when I actually got to installing them, they were not only heavy, but the posts were too long, making for a very shallow angle to the nut. Fortunately this doesn't seem to affect the sound at all, but the neck is heavier than I would have liked. Oh, well, we live and learn, I guess, which is why I mention these things hoping that newcomers to this craft take note that they may encounter many pitfalls along the way, requiring out of the box solutions, some of which will work and some not!


05-04-2016, 08:01 PM
Very Nice!!!

Peace Train
05-04-2016, 10:09 PM
That's a great looking uke with lots of attention to detail. From the sunburst finish to the headstock inlay and everything in between, you can tell a lot of thought and love was put into the making of this gift. The handmade-by-you aspect is definitely a plus. I'm sure your son will be thrilled to receive it!